Work from Home Diaries, Vol. 2

The Label Experts continue to share their personal working from home challenges and victories. Enjoy!

Keene State College 2020 Grad Jumps into WFH

label expert briana laying outside in a hammock
Label Expert Briana

Digital Prepress Technician BRIANA LEIGHTON My new normal is working part time onsite and then working remotely for a few hours every day. Before this I used to come into work in the mornings and then head straight to school, go to bed, rinse and repeat.

Transitioning to remote work was mostly painless. Two people in my department had already been working remotely before COVID-19, so my department didn’t have to worry too much about switching our processes online. Any bumps in the road have had more to do with the online connection being shoddy or programs having glitches. Which Joey our IT guy always takes care of in a flash!

I’ve been learning to play the ukulele during quarantine, so I can play it while I’m waiting for Joey to remote in and fix problems. I also have a window at my at home workspace so I can enjoy the sun while I work, which is a big plus!

My biggest challenge is staying focused. The first few weeks while working remotely I had to get used to connectivity issues and slower program speeds, as well as being distracted by my at home to do list.  I started making myself to do squats whenever I can feel myself losing focus. And I make sure to keep my work area free of non-work clutter so I’m not distracted by anything when I come home to work.

I think that learning new ways of doing things can lead to a lot of improvements. There are lots of challenges to figuring out new ways of working, but it makes each day exciting. I had to figure out how to communicate with my department 100% remotely. There’s always a lot lost in translation with online communication and how you read a message can really be affected by your mood. So that’s been a learning curve.

I wasn’t expecting to miss working with people so much! I’m an introvert, so silence is blissful. But I miss my coworkers.

If you’re not feeling the focus, lean into that. I’ve found that changing up my routine a little can help a lot on days where I don’t feel able to focus. If I allow myself to have music on in the background or to switch where I’m working from I end up being able to focus more than if I force myself to sit still at my desk all day.

Request label InformationIt’s important to have patience with yourself and others. Especially during a pandemic. I think it’s important to check in with yourself and keep things in perspective. Taking some time to be grateful each day helps me remain motivated.

At Home, Working


black cat sitting inside a cardboard box
I have an assistant at home, my cat Doc, who usually hangs out in his box. It’s nice to have someone to talk to who doesn’t talk back, but I think he might be getting tired of listening.
united states flag outside in a backyard

My new normal is that I am at home working. Someone told me, “Instead of saying you are working from home, say you are at home, working.”

I have set up my new desk AKA my kitchen table with all the luxuries of being at the office. I have flowers and my virtual jellyfish tank to brighten my desk.

My silver lining is that I don’t having a commute to work. I also don’t have windows at work. Now I face a window that looks out onto my backyard so I am able to see the sun, trees and birds. A nice backdrop.

My top tip for working from home is to keep to a schedule. I get up at the same time and I do the same routine each morning that I did when I was going to the office.  I make sure I get dressed and don’t stay in my PJ’s all day. I think it helps me stay in work mode and not feel like I am “at home.”

I never did video chats before, but I find it helps make that personal connection with people I am used to seeing every day. It’s nice to see my coworker’s smiling faces.

It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

label expert working from home

Marketing & Engagement Manager JILLIAN BISHOP

Remote work–it’s a love/hate relationship! My new normal is meetings every morning with the management team to assess needs, multiple video calls to keep connected with team members, trying to remind myself not to do house chores during working hours… I had to figure out how to mute myself on video calls when my toddler is yelling!

My favorite part of working remotely is sleeping in a tiny bit more because there is no commute or need to drop off at childcare/school. I enjoy getting to spend lunch break with my kid. Being with my daughter so much is a big plus!

I wasn’t expecting to miss my office desk so much! My biggest challenge is not having my coworkers there to immediately bounce ideas off of. We are a very collaborative team so it’s taken some getting used to.

Think Outside the (Zoom Meeting) Box

Accounting Supervisor HESTER HEATH

white and tan dog
A brief meeting with one of my new “teammates”

My biggest challenge has been trying to manage my kids’ remote learning and having them at home with me full-time, while finding creative ways to manage my own schedule. The thing that has made remote work most successful for me is thinking outside the box. I have taken Zoom meetings from my car if it’s the only quiet place I can find (love those Zoom backgrounds!) or gotten work completed first thing in the morning before the kids wake up or after they’re in bed.

My silver lining is not having to do my hair and makeup anymore! Making sure to do some of the same things that I did before working remotely, helps me stay on track—taking a lunch break, stretching regularly, and making checklists!

Communicating with co-workers wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. Thanks to technology it is easy to get in touch with colleagues when questions or problems come up via e-mail, Zoom meetings, Teams chats or using our internal phone system.

I try and remember to cut myself some slack and to remember that we are all doing the best we can during unexpected times. We have a strong company and a great team and I genuinely believe that we will persevere through this and anything else that comes our way!

You can read the first Work from Home Diaries here.